Crispin: The Cross of Lead, an action-packed historical narrative that follows the frantic flight of a 13-year-old peasant boy across 14th-century England.

After being declared a “wolf’s head” by his manor’s corrupt steward for a crime he didn’t commit (meaning that anyone can kill him like a common animal–and collect a reward), this timid boy has to flee a tiny village that’s the only world he’s ever known. But before our protagonist escapes, Avi makes sure that we’re thoroughly briefed on the injustices of feudalism–the countless taxes cottars must pay, the constant violence, the inability of a flawed church to protect its parishioners, etc. Avi then folds in the book’s central mystery just as the boy is leaving: “Asta’s son,” as he’s always been known, learns from the village priest that his Christian name is Crispin, and that his parents’ origins–and fates–might be more perplexing than he ever imagined.